A new fine dining restaurant, bar and lounge is set to open its doors in Whistler Village next spring.
Dubbed Wild Blue Restaurant + Bar, the incoming venture will focus on offering "elevated Pacific Northwest cuisine, sustainable seafood, and local ingredients," according to a release issued Nov. 4.
But its founding partners are no strangers to Whistler's dining scene.
The crew at Wild Blue's helm includes esteemed industry veterans Neil Henderson, former restaurant director and sommelier of Whistler's Araxi Restaurant; Iron Chef Canada champion Alex Chen, currently the executive chef at Boulevard Kitchen + Oyster Bar in Vancouver; and B.C. restaurateur Jack Evrensel.
The trio's reputations prompted Vancouver Magazine to on Wednesday call Wild Blue, "the most important Whistler restaurant opening in a decade."
Evrensel is the founder of Araxi, the restaurant named for his wife that celebrated its 40th anniversary on Halloween. Araxi's opening marked the origin of Toptable Group, a collective that has since grown to include local eateries like Bar Oso and Il Caminetto, as well as acclaimed Vancouver restaurants CinCin and Blue Water Cafe. Evrensel sold Toptable to Vancouver's Aquilini Group in 2014.
Henderson will serve as Wild Blue's restaurant director. He was awarded with Vancouver Magazine’s prestigious Premier Crew award in 2012.
Chen, who was also recognized as Chef of the Year by Vancouver Magazine in 2018, is adding the partnership to his existing role as Boulevard's executive chef.
Wild Blue Restaurant + Bar is moving into the stand-alone space at 4005 Whistler Way, adjacent to the Aava Hotel and across from the Whistler Conference Centre. (The old White Spot, as some locals will remember.)
The location features dedicated parking and indoor seating for 150 guests, while its layout will include a private dining room, raw bar, and open kitchen, as well as an "expansive lounge and cocktail bar." Outdoor patios also will allow for al fresco dining during the summer months.